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Archived Auto News and Events for October 2008

Ford Says It Can Survive, Pins Hopes on New F-150
On Thursday, October 30, the Ford Motor company optimistically introduced the newest version of its best-selling F-150 pickup and announced that a thousand workers, previously laid off, would be called back to build more of the vehicles.
New Ford Hybrids Boost Speed, Range
The Ford Motor Company will begin production of new hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan in December with a top electric speed of 47 mph, double the current speed of the current Ford Escape and Mercury Mainer hybrid crossovers.
Gasoline Prices Reach Three-Year Low
On Wednesday, October 29, AAA released new survey numbers indicating that the per gallon price of gasoline in the United States has fallen 42 days in a row to a new average of $2.589 for unleaded regular.
Government Considers Possible Avenues of Assistance to Carmakers
Although the $700 billion bailout program passed in September by Congress is targeted at banks and financial institutions, the New York Times reported in a story published October 27, 2008 that the Bush administration is looking for ways to funnel emergency funds into the automotive industry, particularly to bolster the proposed General Motors merger with Chrysler.
Gas Prices Fall on Lowered Crude, Less Demand
Over the past two weeks gasoline prices in the United States have dropped 53 cents with analysts predicting a continued, albeit slower, decline.

On Friday, October 24, the national per gallon price of a gallon of self-serve unleaded was $2.78, down from $3.31 on October 10 and a far cry from the record $4.11 set on July 11.
Edmunds Predicts Disastrous October for Auto Sales
Edmunds.com predicts that the major carmakers including General Motors, Chrysler LLC, and Ford Motor Co. are poised to report auto sales for the month of October that will be the lowest since 1992.
Chrysler Sends Mixed Signals
This week Jim Press, Chrysler LLC President, sought to reassure both employees and shareholders that the company is moving in the right direction and that talk of potential mergers is a positive.
Rumors Circulate of Possible Chrysler, Nissan Deal
According to a report by the Detroit News , Nissan is looking to acquire 20 percent of Chrysler, a move that would bring the U.S. company into the ranks of the current Renault-Nissan alliance.
Kerkorian Backs Away from Ford
Kirk Kerkorian, the billionaire investor who has held 6.5 percent of the Ford Motor Co., has divested himself of a portion of his stake and may sell the remainder according to his investment entity, Tracinda Corp.
Car Makers, Dealers Work to Keep Inventory Under Control
Although the automotive industry is suffering through the most extensive collapse of sales since 1980, manufacturers have managed to keep their inventories under control for high-volume models.
Talk of GM, Chrysler Merger Intensifies
According to multiple reports Cerberus Capital Management LP has escalated its efforts to sell Chrysler LLC to General Motors although details of the proposed deal are sketchy and conflicting.
GM Launches Campaign to Ease Buyer Anxiety
On Friday, October 17, General Motors will launch a marketing campaign targeting customers in the U.S. in an effort to convince them they can still obtain car loans via GM dealerships.
Finance Companies to Seek Government Buy Out of Bad Loans
According to a Reuters report, finance companies will ask the U.S. Treasury Department for authority to sell bad auto loans to the government as part of the massive measures currently underway to shore up the credit market.
Gas Prices Fall on Recession Fears, Changed Consumer Habits
On October 10, the national average per gallon cost for regular unleaded gasoline had fallen to $3.3079, a drop of 35.03 cents in two weeks according to figures compiled by the Lundberg Survey.
GM Stock Surges on Talk of Potential Merger
News of a potential General Motors merger with rivals like Ford or Chrysler LLC, sent stock in the company up 32 percent in early trading on Monday, October 13 even though analysts expressed skepticism about the benefit of such a move.
GM Denies Rumors of Bankruptcy
General Motors, with its stock now selling at 1950s era prices, staunchly maintains that bankruptcy reorganization is not an option.

In a statement issued on Friday, October 10, the company said, "Clearly we face unprecedented challenges related to uncertainty in the financial markets globally and weakening economic fundamentals in many key markets, but bankruptcy protection is not an option GM is considering.".
Automotive Industry's Hard Times to Grow Harder
As the economic climate of the United States continues to fail to respond to attempted corrective measures by the federal government, J.D. Power and Associates cuts it existing 2008 forecast for light-vehicle sales from 14.2 million to 13.6 million while industry analysts forecast worse times to come.
Analysts in Japan Predicting 40% Drop for Toyota
According to predictions by analysts reported in Japanese newspapers and compiled in an Automotive News report, Toyota is facing a 40 percent decline in annual profits, proving that even the world's largest automaker is not immune to weak sales in the U.S.
GM Cuts Production in Europe to Fight Falling Sales
Later this month, in a response to the ever slowing sale of new vehicles, General Motors will stop production at all plants in Europe except the facility at Russelsheim.
Electric Vehicles on Display in Paris Generate Interest
In a story for Automotive News Dave Guilford looks at the rising number of electric automobiles on the market, many of which were on display at the Paris auto show last week.
Toyota Responds to Sales Drop with Zero Percent Loans
After posting a 32 percent drop in sales for September, Toyota has announced zero percent financing on eleven models in an effort to balance out the effects of tight credit and growing consumer fears.
Automotive Industry Posts Lowest Numbers in Fifteen Years
Auto sales in the U.S. for September hit a 15-year low at an average 27 percent decline as tight credit, high gasoline prices, and growing financial anxieties drove consumers away from new car purchases.
Analysts Predict Rough Sales Reports Today
Automakers will be reporting the results of their September sales today and the industry is bracing itself for bad news with analysts predicting as much as a 20 percent drop.
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